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Toys R Us workers just started receiving severance checks - one woman got $735

Toys R Us closes its doors for good

Roughly 10 months after Toys R Us started closing its 735 U.S. stores, nearly 20,000 workers laid off without severance by the bankrupt retailer are finally getting some money.

Checks were cut this week for those who submitted claims in late December, and the process will continue for several more months, according to a labor advocacy group that helped former employees mount a public relations campaign seeking severance. Workers have until March to file the paperwork to seek payment. 

How much ex-workers will get

The payments range from $200 to more than $12,000. The money comes from a $20 million financial assistance fund established in November by private equity firms Bain Capital and KKR, two of three companies that took over Toys R Us in a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout in 2005.

Under pressure from workers and advocates, Bain and KKR each contributed $10 million to the fund, which is still short the estimated $75 million owed to former employees under policies in use for decades at the iconic retailer. 

A labor group, United for Respect's Rise Up Retail, vowed to continue pressing creditors and other financial firms with stakes in Toys R Us to contribute to the workers' fund.

What led to the demise of Toys R Us?

"We're still working to ensure the hardworking people who spent their lives building Toys R Us and making children happy are not left out in the cold," Sarah Woodhams, who worked at Babies R Us in Harleysville, Pennsylvania, for seven years and who received a $735 check, said in a statement released by the worker advocacy group.

KKR and Bain Capital appointed Kenneth Feinberg, an expert on administering compensation funds, and his colleague Camille Biros to oversee distributions from the fund.

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